Business Irish

Thursday 27 July 2017

Lowe gives up on €1m Capitol debt

Actress Scarlett Johansson was due to star in the planned big-budget production by Capitol, 'Mary
Queen of Scots'. A significant portion of the filming for the historical epic had been scheduled to
take place in Ireland
Actress Scarlett Johansson was due to star in the planned big-budget production by Capitol, 'Mary Queen of Scots'. A significant portion of the filming for the historical epic had been scheduled to take place in Ireland
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

AN IRISH film company headed by well-known producer Andrew Lowe is highly unlikely to recoup more than €1m it is owed by a major UK-based movie firm, Capitol Films, which has been placed in administration.

Irish Reel Productions has been locked in a legal battle with Capitol for more than a year, since it allegedly failed to receive payment for pre-production work on a planned big-budget production by Capitol, 'Mary Queen Of Scots', which was to star Scarlett Johansson.

A significant portion of filming for that movie was scheduled to take place in Ireland, with reservists from the Defence Forces due to be drafted in as extras, as they were for Mel Gibson's 'Braveheart'.

Irish Reel had been attempting to have Capitol Films wound up. That motion was denied by the UK courts on technical grounds, but Capitol was placed into administration. It is understood to have a deficit of roughly £50m (€57m) on its books.

Production

Mr Lowe is involved in various production companies in Ireland, including the successful Element Pictures, which has co-produced titles such as 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley'.

Mr Lowe told the Irish Independent he did not expect to receive the money due to Irish Reel and that he was disappointed with the outcome.

Referring to the UK court's decision and the expected write-off of the debt, he said: "It's a pyrrhic victory. It's never happened to us before."

AIB is also owed money by Capitol. Last month, it secured a $1.2m (€900,000) judgment in a Californian court against the parent firm of Capitol Films, R2D2.

It had guaranteed a $90m (€66m) credit line extended to Capitol Films for the production of 'The Edge Of Love', which starred Keira Knightley and Cillian Murphy.

One of the principals of Capitol Films is US movie executive David Bergstein. It is understood that a company owned by him has already pitched a $10m bid for Capitol Film's assets, including its movie library.

That catalogue is estimated to have been worth as much as $100m at one stage, but could be worth just half that now.

Mr Bergstein is also behind a company attempting to buy the Miramax film studio title and catalogue from Walt Disney.

Irish Independent

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